Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Witches of Dixie

It is not every day that one reads a book written by a witch and, in fact, The Witches of Dixie, by Laura Stamps, is a first for me (as far as I know, of course). Being only vaguely familiar with the concepts of Wicca and aware of the somewhat controversial range of opinion regarding the religion and those who practice it, I began the book hoping to learn what the life of a modern day witch is like and how it differs from my own. I was pleased to find that this is exactly what the book has on offer.

Stamps offers a glimpse into the lives of four women, all practitioners of Wicca, who are facing the same daily pressures and problems with which all of us contend. What is different about these women is the way that they deal with what life throws at them.

We meet Savannah Monroe who is suddenly faced with the fact that sales of the "magickal handbags" that she depends on for her income are slumping badly. There is Maylene Whitmire, a woman who comes to feel that she is having so little impact on the world that she is becoming invisible in the eyes of others. Mirabella Middleton, who has had a successful art career for years suddenly finds that a declining economy is taking a toll on the ability of galleries to sell her work. And, finally, there is Ravena Riley who is sadly watching her husband go through the midlife crisis that is threatening the very stability of their marriage.

What all of these women have in common is their close relationship to nature and the spells and rituals that are part of Wicca. They are White Witches and they know where to go to get the help that they need. As Ravena once explained to her husband, "A White Witch worships the feminine aspects of the Divine...Someone who desires a magickal life, following a code that instructs every thought and spell to work for the good of all."

Each woman begins to solve the problems facing her by using the real spells, chants and rituals included throughout the book. As each ultimately conquers the worst that she is faced with, the reader is left with a clear understanding of the principles of Wicca and those who practice it in the twenty-first century. It is a fascinating look into a lifestyle of which most of us know very little, and understand even less.

Rated at: 3.5

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